EXCERPT FROM A
You are the Light of the world – that’s a pretty big responsibility. You are not just Light for family and friends, not just Light for neighbors and community but Light for the whole world! That means that if our Light goes out, the world will be in darkness; the world depends upon us, God depends upon us, for that Light to shine brightly. This Light isn’t something we create – actually, each us comes into this world with a little spark of Light within – a little spark of God’s presence. Our task is to tend this spark, to make it grow through acts of loving kindness. The more we love, the brighter our Light becomes. Jesus tells us in the gospel that this Light is meant to be seen – it is the Light of faith which draws others to God. The brighter we shine, the more others will begin to want what we have.
Tell us about God!
Tell us about your faith!
This is called evangelizing. WE don’t have to go knocking door to door, we don’t have to go off to the missions to preach – we can change the world just by letting the Light within shine forth for all to see. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
How can you make your Light grow?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- In what ways are you "the Light of the World"?
- What brightens this Light?
- What obscures this Light?
- What spiritual practices might help you shine more brightly?
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS & CLASSES
Ways of Sacred Listening
Institute for Life Coach Training
Wednsdays, March 4-April 22nd. 6:00-7:30 p.m. EST
Sacred Union through Lectio Divina
Saturday, April 25th, 9:00 a.m.-noon
The Well Spirituality Center
, LaGrange Park, IL
Summer Institute, June 26-27, 2020
ICF (International Coach Federation) Midwest Regional Conference,
October 1-3, 2020.
Light and injustice cannot co-exist, anymore than Light and cruelty belong together. Or Light and lies, for that matter. Exposed to the Light, deeds of darkness can be seen for what they are; stripped from the glamour of evil, these deeds now manifest in all their sordidness, causing shock and horror. Truth punctures both complacency and ignorance, severing fantasy from reality, fact from fiction, hearsay from credible evidence. This is a time for Truth-seeking and Truth speaking, for placing God and country before vested interests and blind allegiances. This is a time for taking stock of where we have come from and for moving forward with clarity and compassion.
Here in the U.S. there are those who celebrate our apparent economic prosperity; there are also those who fear the dismantling of economic safeguards -- food stamps, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security.... While cuts to these programs will affect countless citizens, it is the poor who will suffer the most. As a nation, we will be bringing darkness upon ourselves if we abandon those with fewest resources. Already we have a legacy of darkness that extends back to the genocide against the First Nations, and then to the Slave Trade. Now we are poised to heap darkness upon darkness through legislation that favors the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
We cannot approach God's Table if the only guests are those who are well-shod and overfed, while the poor go hungry, sleeping in tent cities or else under viaducts. We will not enjoy the Light of God's presence if we fail to shelter the homeless, welcome the oppressed and comfort the afflicted.
We have before us Light and Darkness -- which will we choose?
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.
Is 58: 7-10
Searching through my files on an old hard drive, I came across the excerpt from the
printed on the left of this page. Since I preach "script-free," the excerpt represents brainstorming from several years ago and not a "finished product." The final version, in fact, might have been quite different, but there are still some residual thoughts that seem relevant today:
- If our Light goes out, the world will be in darkness. Of course, I can't support this claim scientifically, but I do believe that when a single individual sacrifices integrity for the sake of material gain or loses the capacity for compassion or allows himself/herself to be driven by baser instincts, then the world becomes a darker place. It is as though a portal opens for evil to enter the world, and soon others are caught up in a soul-darkening reality. Conversely, when someone tends the Light within, then that Light will shine in the Darkness, illuminating "the Way" for those who wish to live according to God's Law. Both Light and Darkness are contagious, perhaps because we are all inter-connected: what happens to one matters for all -- and the actions of one person, for better or worse, have planetary consequences.
- The world depends upon us, God depends upon us for that Light to shine brightly. Now classical theology would maintain that since God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, God doesn't depend upon us for anything; moreover, since it is Christ who is the Light of the world, then that Light has been with us from eternity and will be with us eternally. But suppose the people who walked in darkness can no longer see that pre-existing Light? Suppose they dwell in the fog of confusion, in the pit of despair, in the land of gloom, in the darkest of nights? When the Christ-Light is hidden from view, the only Light is that which we ourselves shine in the darkness, in defiance of lies, corruption, cruelty, hatred, injustice and violence. Our visible Light reflects the invisible Christ-Light which is its very source.
- Each of us comes into this world with a little spark of Light within, a little spark of God's presence. This idea comes straight from the teachings of medieval mystics such as Bonaventure. Our spiritual task is to return to the Eternal Light from which we came, shining with love and virtue. The journey away from sin and ignorance, however, is one we make through the Incarnate Word, not just through our own efforts; while the journey involves great humility and constant prayer, ultimately it is grace that carries us home.
- The Light of Faith draws others to God. When we shine forth God's Light for others to see, then curiosity often awakens in them the desire to know more. In this way, our commitment to our own soul work invites others to re-commit to theirs or to begin the ascent to God for the first time.